Step by step tutorial to make a circle skirt without a pattern. This tutorial includes a handy waist circumference chart, and instructions on how to add a pocket.
Purchase five yards of 45” wide fabric. You can tweak your yardage requirements after you make your first skirt. If the total of the waist measure + the waist to hem length > 44”, then purchase five yards of 60” wide fabric. I recommend you use cheap muslin fabric if this is the first skirt you make using these instructions.
This full circle skirt is made of two half panels, which means you'll end up with two seams, one on each side. Make a 3 panel skirt for extra fullness. This skirt is made to slip over your hips, thus the skirt can sit either on your waist or hips.
1. Cut fabric in half so you have two 2.5 yard (90”) long pieces.
2. Fold each piece in half.
3. Draw in waist length: Measure around the fullest part of your hips or waist, whichever is larger. Use this number to find your waist length using the chart below, and mark on fabric (shown as solid blue line). Pin a length of ribbon to the top corner edge of the fabric and tie the other end to a pencil. Use it as a compass to draw the curve of the skirt waist (shown in image as dotted blue line).
4. Waist to hem length: Measure from your waist down to where you want the skirt to end. Measure down the side of your body and don't bend over. Add an extra 2” to fold up the hem. Mark this measure on fabric starting at the end of the waist length (shown as solid red line). Pin a longer length of ribbon to the top corner edge of the fabric and tie the other end to a pencil. Use it as a compass to draw the curve of the skirt hem (shown in image as dotted red line).
Example: I want my skirt to start at my waist and end just below my knees. From my waist down, this measure is 25”. My waist to hem length is 25+2” hem = 27”.
WAIST LENGTH CHART
|HIPS||2 PANELS||3 PANELS|
|30||4 2/8||2 7/8|
|33||4 6/8||3 1/8|
|34||4 7/8||3 2/8|
|36||5 1/8||3 4/8|
|37||5 2/8||3 4/8|
|38||5 4/8||3 5/8|
|39||5 5/8||3 6/8|
|40||5 6/8||3 7/8|
|41||5 7/8||3 7/8|
|43||6 1/8||4 1/8|
|44||6 2/8||4 2/8|
|45||6 4/8||4 2/8|
|46||6 5/8||4 3/8|
|47||6 6/8||4 4/8|
|48||6 7/8||4 5/8|
|50||7 1/8||4 6/8|
|51||7 2/8||4 7/8|
|53||7 5/8||5 1/8|
|54||7 6/8||5 1/8|
|55||7 7/8||5 2/8|
|57||8 1/8||5 4/8|
|58||8 2/8||5 4/8|
|59||8 4/8||5 5/8|
|60||8 5/8||5 6/8|
The waist length figures out how wide the waist has to be to fit over your hips. The math for the waist length is (hip measurement-(hip measurement*.10))/3.14/2. The .10 is to counter some the bias stretch resulting from a circular cut. The rest of the stretch is taken up by the 1/2” seam allowances.
5. If you don’t want a pocket, sew up the two side seams with a 1/2” seam allowance. Skip to the end of this post for various waist and hem finishes.
Add a hidden pocket
An inset pocket is easily sewn into the seam allowance before the side seams are sewn.
1. Click here for my free pocket pattern. Cut two pocket pieces out of your fabric.
2. Mark and notch the side of your skirt 7” - 8” from the waist. Be sure to notch both sides at once.
3. Pin one pocket piece below the notch on one skirt side. Sew along the straight seam allowance, all across the pocket. Press out the seam allowance. Flip and press the pocket to the side. Repeat steps 3 & 4 for the other pocket and skirt panel.
4. Stack both pieces right sides together. Line up notch. Mark the bottom curve of the pocket. Draw in the seam allowance on the pocket.
5. Stitch along the entire length of the seam allowance from the waist, around the pockets, and down to the hem. Press open straight stitching seam allowances.
6. Turn inside out. Admire your new inset pocket!
Using french seams?
Click for my tutorial on how to insert a pocket using french seams.
Click for my tutorial on how to finish a skirt opening using french seams.
There are various ways to finish the waist:
Here are several different hem techniques:
- simple hem using Gertie’s technique
- use a rolled hem foot with your straight stitch machine
- attach a ruffle to the bottom of hem
- fold the hem to the right side and cover with trim.
- serge the bottom edge, fold to inside and sew down with a straight stitch.
- serge the bottom edge with a finished rolled hem.